Traffic Study Needed On North Side Of River - And Response

  • Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Before city leadership alters traffic in North Chattanooga, I hope there will be a professional traffic study. The area in question is very congested and has many intersections, with traffic lights very close together. It is intersected by bridges that are heavily traveled. This already causes blocked intersections at peak times. If traffic is not handled appropriately, it is conceivable that we could see backups into downtown on the bridges.

Pedestrians, bikes and other non-motorized traffic are an important part of this conversation, but not the only part. In addition to commuters going to work and back, you also have commercial delivery vehicles, buses and emergency response vehicles. First responders cannot navigate Gatlinburg style traffic jams, without risk to someone's life and limb.

A lesser concern, though still legitimate, is the fact that the area businesses depend on customers being able to access their physical locations. Keep in mind the many new commuters being added to the Manufacturer's Road area with the new residential buildings nearing completion. This will directly affect the Cherokee Boulevard/Frazier Avenue roadway.

There is much at stake and it should not be left to chance.

Darlene Kilgore

* * *

It is a generally accepted principle by transportation engineers that converting a four- lane surface street (two lanes in each direction)to a three-lane street (one lane in each direction + a turn lane) has a variety of benefits and very few downsides.

In a four- lane configuration there are often crashes due to unnecessary passing maneuvers and there is little room for emergency vehicles because all four lanes are full of traffic. In a three-lane configuration traffic may move slightly more slowly on a miles per hour basis, but it moves more smoothly because turning vehicles no longer impede the flow of traffic and there is no more dangerous weaving. Emergency vehicles also have more space to travel in a turn lane, as it is easier to keep clear and free of traffic. Additional benefits include better pedestrian safety and often additional street parking for businesses. 

I recommend anyone who is concerned about lane reductions to read the Road Diet Mythbusters document by the Federal Highway Administration. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/road_diets/resources/pdf/roadDiet_MythBuster.pdf

Nathan Bird
Opinion
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